Written by Daniel Barker
Jan 16, 2011
Image     This review actually started in 1995 when I befriended a co-worker and ORIGINAL Coughee Brotha – Anthony Hemphill. After soon discovering our common love of music, he introduced me to the Odd Squad in his old Buick Delta 88 via a clear plastic cassette demo which included “Smokin’ Dat Weed”. Over the past 15 years, life has gotten in the way of that close friendship but I can always count on a call or text when Devin drops a new disc or has a show in town. I was not going to pass up yet another invitation to roll with The Coughee Brothaz on gig night so today I woke up and after sippin’ on a little coughee myself, headed to The Southwest.  January 16th, 2011 was not just a local club date either, Devin the Dude was performing tonight with DJ Kid Capri of Def Comedy Jam fame and the legendary Too Short at Houston’s House of Blues.

Those other guys are great in their own right but I was going to meet and see one of my favorite songwriters perform – Devin Copeland.  After catching up, my old warehouse partner handed me an official Coughee Brothaz shirt and we rolled over to SoundCheck studios where The Coughee Brothaz were meeting up. I was welcomed into the lab to chill until Devin made his appearance. After greeting everyone, it was apparent that it was show time as the techs grabbed the last pieces of equipment and The Dude loaded up in his Tahoe to lead his entourage to Caroline Street. As we rolled thru H-town breaking multiple traffic laws to stay in the precession, it felt like these guys were heading to a big homecoming game to prove once and again what they are made of.

I believe Devin’s loyalty and honesty are his greatest assets as a writer. His talent is in taking those lyrics and telling his story with a style and delivery that is all his own. He raps about real life and how he has decided to drink, smoke and fuck his way thru it. That is all he raps about. No gangs and guns, no mayhem or murder. He comes in the tradition of intelligent artist that can be raunchy at times– Dolomite, Andrew “Dice” Clay, George Carlin and Richard Pryor-but just like with those greats, the unvarnished life lessons sneak thru for the ones that listen with an open mind. Devin the Dude is here tonight in support of his latest release, “Gotta Be Me” dropped November 2nd, 2010 on Real Talk Entertainment. It is his 7th studio album and his best since “Just Tryin’ To Live” as an entire album in my opinion.

Image     DJ Kid Capri opened the show and got the crowd warmed up with his skills paying homage to Dirty South legends like DJ Screw, Ghetto Boys, Master P and Fat Joe. I came to realize that Kid was acting as the MC of the night bringing these two rappers together on the same bill. Everyone was hoping that the night would end with both coming out and doing “Pimp Life” and “Fuck Faces” as both were big hits for the two. The crowd was good size and was primarily black between 30 and 50. Quite different from the crowd for Devin’s all age show at The Warehouse which consisted of mostly adolescent white kids. Not a surprise to me since my 17 year old son has borrowed all my Devin over the last several years.

Devin took the stage with Coughee Brothaz everywhere on stage in an apparent attempt to bring the studio to life at HOB. On the beats was the amazing DJ Domo as D busted out some classics like “Lacville ‘79”, “Sticky Green” and “Doobie Ashtray” as well as some rarely played live tracks like “The Mighty Dollar”.  This man has laid down some of the best hooks in hip hop. Devin has been called “Your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper” and I believe that is true but I have to say that it is not only other rappers but Texas singer-songwriters as well. I can testify that Adam Carroll is a big fan as he made clear at HeightsLive last year after I gave him a new Devin disc.

Once comfortable himself, Devin welcomed his Odd Squad brethren on stage to kick it back to some of the tunes I heard on that scratchy tape so long ago, like “Fa Sho” – words to truly live by. Rob Quest and JuggMugg are still laying it down and it is great to see the loyalty that is still there after all they have been through. I can say that The Coughee Brothaz are family and I already know.

Image     Too Short came out to the crowd brought to a fever pitch again by Kid Capri. He stalked the very front of the stage the whole show getting up close and personal with fans. Too Short was one of the original nasty rappers starting back in the 80’s falling in line with the likes of Luther Campbell. He makes no apologies about his use of his favorite word “Bitch”. He still looks young and healthy for all the alleged partying he has been accused of the last 25 years. Devin did make it out to do “Fuck Faces” but then was back off to the after party that was in full effect in The Foundation Room. Too Short proved just that as his set was right at an hour and void of his biggest hit “The Ghetto”.

Shortly after Too Short had made his way off stage, I was making my way to the party. Devin was gracious enough to take a picture and sign my ticket in between everyone trying to get a piece of the star. It has to be the only party I have been to where there was a rolling paper manufacturer passing out product and networking. Trust me, the guy was in the right place. Until next time, I will see you out supporting live music.